“Let’s plan a shoulder season trip.”    “You’ll love the crisp morning air, plus you’ll sleep so much better at night!”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????

I had spoken of a trip into the fall and had been in touch with some I’ve travelled with before.  A target was put out along with an itinerary (rough) and away we went.  In the past I’ve bowed and bent with whatever seemed to be happening at the time but this trip was going to be different.  Different in the fact that it was going to happen.  Heck, the first time you went on a solo was due to the fact you were committed, yes?  And so it came to be that it was Thursday evening prior to a Friday departure……

For anyone who has done a trip/outing with me, the mainstay is that launch will be at T plus whatever time is necessary for me to finish packing.  Sorry, that’s just the way it happens.  “Dave” and ” Oh my God….he’s ready!”  is not likely to be heard in the same sentence around my place, however, I can pretty much assure you it will be an interesting and informative wait!

Canoes were loaded on the Thursday evening, including a gorgeous 12′ Pilot set up in a solo configuration, from Composite Creations, courtesy of Andy Phillips.  The combatants had spoken prior to the trip and it was determined it would not be a light weight, minimalist trip, right down to towing an extra canoe and carrying an 8 lb. lightweight (?) dutch oven to prepare cinnamon rolls for dessert!

Flexibility allowed for an 8:30 AM take off time from the planned 5:00 – 6:00 AM, which, quite frankly seems somewhat barbaric.   Next stop….Parry Sound!

The “Sound” was a breeze right down to the point where I made the U-turn to park and a car left out right in front of me providing a panoramic view of the Home Hardware store for those left in the truck.  Alban, here we come!  “You remembered to pack the TP, right?”  There’s no sense having soggy toilet paper, so $80.00 later I’ve got some Kirkland TP and some large freezer zip lock bags and we’re hot and heavy to the Pine Cove get off.

OK, let’s take a moment here to put some history down here.  It was 51 years ago that I took the same trip on worse roads and in a 14′ Thornes aluminum for my first trip into the French.  It’s about 22 years ago that Karin and I first went into the French in our cedar canvas and 2 years ago that we took our children into the French in a wind storm and rainy weekend for an overnight trip.  Overnight……really!  Their comment was that they’d go back if it wasn’t so windy and if we had more time!

Well, time we had, the weather offered the summer high temperature on the first day of fall and we had between one and a half and two feet below flood levels.  It was a glorious weekend and one that put out some great tests of personal growth, fantastic equipment (reviews will follow) and some testimonies from the kids that will stand the test of time.

Friday was a great day on the way in and it came to a group consensus as to whether we would continue on, or camp where we spoke.  Gear was shifted into place and camp was made!  Dinner consisted of some sore muscles, along with a salad of laughter, and dessert consisted of some wonderful memories covered in some delightful ambitions.  Good nights were said and we headed for bed in the sweltering heat that only a 40’C day can offer.

Heads on the pillows and Mom and Dad are listening for the bairns to be off for the night when Mom says, “There’s something wrong with the fire.”  The coals were checked and the light show continued.  Heat lightning came in for close to 2 hours, followed by a gentle rain until about 4:00.  We woke the kids so they could have a look at the sky and the multitude of stars it offered.

The looks on their faces absolutely made the trip!!!









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